With a name like Le Frenchy this new restaurant at the Byblos Marina could only be French…or Francophonie. You wouldn’t think so from the interior which, apart from a few cliché pictures and posters of French symbols (e.g. Eiffel Tower) and two beautiful Peugeot 103 mopeds (similar to what Italian restaurants do with Vespas), is all you’ve got to go with where association is concerned. I suppose Couqley has already cornered the French bistro segment. Like Couqley, Le Frenchy is a restaurant with a full bar. Why a restaurant like this has a full bar I don’t quite understand but there you go.
Thankfully, much of the easy to follow, well explained menu is pictorial and forgivingly unpretentious. Not everything on the menu is pukka French either, like one of the two starters we ordered – Shrimp Tempura. The other was a play on the famous Steak Tartar – in this case Tuna Tartar.
I saved my appetite for the 350g Entrecôte which I mistook for their take on the traditional faux (sirloin) fillet steak-frites with a sauce similar to the world famous “Café de Paris” sauce. If the ribeye I was served instead wasn’t perfectly cooked to my preferred medium rare and wasn’t so good, I would have been hugely disappointed.
My wife, Negin, followed on from her tuna tartar to a gorgeous Spinach and Burrata Salad which was served with grilled peaches and caramelized onions and a flawlessly balanced vinaigrette. It was so good, for the first time ever, I was prepared to trade a steak for a salad – I can think of no higher compliment to pay their Moroccan chef. Our friend Lloyd, a regular visitor to Dubai from the UK, ordered the Bavette (French for flank steak) topped with caramelized onions, shallots and rustic red wine sauce. Lloyd too was very happy with his meal. The quality of the food at Le Frenchy really surprised us (in a good way, as my daughter says).
The lack of ambience also surprised us (in a not so good way). Although there was live music, there simply weren’t enough people to create any sort of a…um, mood. Awkward is the only word which comes to mind. And that’s a pity because, in addition to the excellent food, we found the staff genuinely friendly and accommodating. I must take this opportunity to thank restaurant manager, Robin Barsa, for his personal attention. Get some people in there and I’m sure they’ll have a winner on their hands. Will I go back? Yeah, I’ll probably give Le Frenchy one more try but if I find there are still more staff members than guests, I won’t be so forgiving with my time.
I’m giving Le Frenchy a Ravenous Rating of 3.5 out of 5.0 although I believe, with a good ambience and vibe, this could be a 4.0+ restaurant.
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Xerxes physically dines at, or orders from, each and every venue he reviews. He pays in full for whatever he and his companions eat, drink, take away or occasionally throw at each other. Xerxes accepts no money, gifts, discounts or free meals in return for reviews or favouritism. What you have read was NOT influenced in any way by the venue. Join me on Instagram @ravenousxerxes or email me on email@example.com.